Got my chisels now what?

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Forum topic by Boogie posted 11-10-2011 05:11 AM 1168 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 3660 days

11-10-2011 05:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chisels tips help

I finally broke down and bought a new set of footprint chisels. So far so good. What i need now are tips. in the past i have only used a chisel to bang out any mistakes, or pry open a can of paint. I have flattened the back honed and lapped all the chisel (have not made them “Scary Sharp”). So i went out to start playing with them, and i quickly realized that i need to work on my skills. Any help will be appreciated.

-- Boogie, Hou Tex - Life is to short for Bad Wine

7 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3211 days

#1 posted 11-10-2011 06:53 AM

First tip. DO go back and make them scary sharp.

Trying to do quality work with a half sharp tool is counter productive.

You will learn nothing but how to become frustrated.

Once you get them truly sharp, watch a few videos of making dovetail joints on You Tube.

Then get you a couple of 1×4s about 6 inches long and dovetail them together.

View Greg's profile


332 posts in 3114 days

#2 posted 11-10-2011 07:17 AM

Some golden rules of sharp chisels.
Do enjoy the beauty of effortlessly shaving away .003” of end grain with a “scarysharp” chisel.
DO keep the tips protected/covered!!
DO keep your chisels honed
DO make and keep them scary sharp
DO place your chisels down in a safe location with the tip NEVER impacting anything harder than wood
Do keep your chisels lightly oiled to prevent rust

DO NOT EVER drop your chisels. Murphy’s law dictates that it will land on the corner and cause you 30 minutes of your life.
DO NOT EVER put one hand on the chise handlel, and the other in harms way holding work. Think of a chisel as a loaded gun. DONT MESS WITH THE BUSINESS END.. It bites!

My 2 cents.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View Boogie's profile


16 posts in 3660 days

#3 posted 11-10-2011 03:57 PM

I work for a homebuilder so i plan on going by my granite company this afternoon and pick up some scraps so i can make the “Scary”. And i learned the hard way about the business end. I had honed them on a wet stone and did the ol’ hair shaving test. A minute or so later my daughter can by and asked why i was bleeding…Maybe i am not responsible enough for “scary sharp” .

Thanks for the info guys. I will try my hand a some joints this weekend if i have time. if you have any other advice let me know.

-- Boogie, Hou Tex - Life is to short for Bad Wine

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2895 days

#4 posted 11-11-2011 04:15 PM

Try the thumbnail drag test as opposed to the hair shave test.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3187 days

#5 posted 11-30-2011 07:08 PM

Boogie, gotta love Greg’s ‘golden rules…’!

I too had a few old chisels. Most were dull, generally didn’t know what use they were, got no respect from me…. Until I started a few projects that needed some advanced ‘joinery’, and about the same time got a couple of good Marples chisels and learned how to sharpen them. Over the months since, I reach for the chisels on almost every project and just couldn’t get along without them. Dovetails, boxjoints, drawers, doors, hinge mortises, any joinery in fact, hardwood, plywood all benefit from skillful use of chisels.


-- Smitty

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3017 days

#6 posted 11-30-2011 07:18 PM

Use the less nice tools for the plywood and the good ones for the hardwoods. The glue in plywood is very hard on chisels.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2895 days

#7 posted 11-30-2011 09:44 PM

^I will add that when messing with premade doors you want to apply the same tack.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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